Breaking the Stereotype

Empowering women in advertising in developing markets.

Breaking the Stereotype

Given the role that they play in deciding on the everyday brands used in households, women are central characters in many advertisements. Traditionally in many developing markets, stereotypes were often used to portray the role women played. Most advertisements were centered around activities performed by women at home to make the family happy, portraying their dependency and not making any important decisions. While growing up, when TV was the most dominant media, every commercial break out would show advertisements with women either doing laundry or other household chores to ensure family confidence.

For example, Nirma, a laundry powder brand in India, showcased the importance of clean clothes for family to stand out in a crowd.

Fortunately, a couple of decades have passed, and some of the old stereotypes are giving way to new approaches to advertising in developing markets. Ariel launched their “Is laundry only a woman’s job” campaign which challenges the typical stereotype that was predominant for years. This was followed by their Cannes Lions winning “Share the Load” campaign which not only achieved results for the brand, but also led to a broader cultural change in behaviour.